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Family planning

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Several thousand signatures on four full pages of paid advertising in Sunday’s Northwest Herald suggests how strongly opposition to abortion is felt.

Though legal since 1973, it would be hard to find anybody who actually likes abortion.

People who are serious about eliminating abortion would do well to think about addressing the root cause, unwanted or unintended pregnancies.

Healthy pregnancies, not abortion, are the primary focus of family planning agencies worldwide. Only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s caseload is abortion, none of which are paid by public funds and all of which are legal. Ninety-seven percent of their caseload is in the service of healthy, intentional parenthood.

All the signatures in the world won’t eliminate abortion. Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended; 80 percent for women 19 and younger, and 98 percent for teens younger than 15.

Without publicly funded contraceptive services in the U.S., unintended pregnancy, unplanned births and abortion would be 66 percent higher, and among teens 73 percent higher than they already are.

Every dollar spent on family planning saves at least $5.68 in public spending on maternity and infant care costs by federal and state governments. Each unwanted birth prevented in the U.S. saves about $250,000 to raise the typical child through age 18, and saves global society the equivalent of 9,440 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions that are smothering the planet.

Family planning is the best investment people of conscience who really want to end abortion can make.

Donovan C. Wilkin


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